"Rainbow Connection" is a popular song written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher and originally performed by Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson) in The Muppet Movie in 1979. By extension, as evidenced in the TV special, The Muppets at Walt Disney World, the song has come to epitomize the ideals and artistic spirit of Henson and his company as much as "When You Wish Upon a Star" represents Walt Disney and his company.
Kenny Ascher and Paul Williams received Oscar nominations at the 52nd Academy Awards for the movie score and for "Rainbow Connection", which Allmusic describes as an "unlikely radio hit ... which Kermit the Frog sings with all the dreamy wistfulness of a short green Judy Garland." and goes on to add that "'Rainbow Connection' serves the same purpose in The Muppet Movie that 'Over the Rainbow' serves in The Wizard of Oz, with nearly equal effectiveness: an opening establishment of the characters' driving urge for something more in life." The song was also nominated for the Golden Globes for "Best Original Song" in 1979, losing both Oscar and Globe to "It Goes Like It Goes" from Norma Rae, a win that some critics decried.
American Film Institute named "Rainbow Connection" the 74th greatest movie song of all time in AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs.
Artists to cover the song include The Carpenters, Sarah McLachlan, DAT Politics, Aaron Lewis, Kenny Loggins, The Dixie Chicks, Justin Timberlake, Kiki and Herb, Jason Mraz, The Pussycat Dolls, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Tay Zonday, Jim Brickman, Caroline's Spine, Estradasphere, Leftöver Crack (with dramatically different lyrics), The Dresden Dolls, Willie Nelson (who is quite often incorrectly credited with penning the song), Peter Cincotti, Jane Monheit, pop-punk band Fifteen, Lea Salonga, Andy Bernard (played by Ed Helms) in The Office, Jim James of My Morning Jacket and The Loves. It was sung by Blondie's Debbie Harry in a duet with Kermit on The Muppet Show in 1981 (Season 5) and implied that Kermit is well known for the song in the muppet-verse. Rock band Weezer is recording the song for the Muppets Remastered soundtrack with an appearance by Paramore's Hayley Williams. Free Wild performs a rendition of the song on their 2010 Spin Dry tour.
Info taken from Wikipedia